Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Prophesy of the Sticker

I have been blessed with two beautiful, healthy, wonderful, sweet, AND HARD HEADED little daughters.

God bless em...

...and me too...

...and Kyle...

So first of all, Juliette. Mommy's little boob addict. I realized that her nursing was cah-razy when even the "crunchy" mom blog talked about her kid being down to three feedings a day at the same age as my Pet. Three feedings a day! Freaking.... Juliette nurses about three times in the hour before bed! Not to mention her morning feeding, her nap time feeding, her dinner time feeding, and the two or three times she wakes up during the night. It's like I'm nursing a hobbit! We've got breakfast and second breakfast and so on and so forth. Okay... this is it... I really MUST start the weaning process for sanity's sake as well as for the sake of my poor, wretched body. You know it's time to wean when the kid can stand WHILE nursing. As in her mouth on me and her feet on my lap all 90 degree angle. And sometimes she kicks her little leg like a dog does when you scratch his belly. This may be part of why her nickname is "Pet."

Also she's been staying awake til almost midnight lately because she just wants to be in my arms. Last night, one of the many times she fell asleep nursing, I put her down in her crib and she started to wimper. It was one of those times where it could go either way, she could wake up or go back to sleep so I ran out of the room all "ninja mommy" like and she started to wail... so I came back in and noticed something stuck to her cheek. It was a sticker from a baby calender to mark a special occasion. It read, "Slept through the night." (Veeeeeeeery funny God. I assume that was You?) Up until that point I had been SO frustrated I felt like I was going to scream but when I saw that I peeled it off her chubby cheek, kissed it, and held her close.

We finally got her to sleep by not nursing her and pacing with her for a while. Not having nursed to sleep she actually ended up falling into a deeper sleep and slept through the night for the first time ever. So I may have to save the Prophesy Sticker From God.

Madeleine, oh sweet Madeleine, wants a "big girl bed" so badly but we told her she couldn't have one OR her princess underwear until she potty trained. This would be encouragement to MOST kids but for my little firecracker it caused evil eyes and an outright refusal to go anywhere near her training potty. We are currently at a stand still on the issue. She is still of the opinon that she runs the house... little does she know that mommy has also been training daddy in the art of "No." It tortures him to look into those green eyes and not give her anything she asks for in her sweet, "Daddy please!" voice but he knows that it will be better for her in the long run to have consistent discipline and to not just wear diapers right through until geriatric age.

If the girls ran the house we'd have a 16 year old in diapers and a 15 year old still nursing someday. They may end up being home schooled but I don't want to let them be THAT weird.

Also, I've realized that Madeleine is associating prayer time with bed time and now no longer enjoys saying her prayers... that or she repeats everything six or seven times to stall. Needless to say we are moving family prayer time to earlier in the day.

Speaking of which, Kyle and I am doing the Total Consecration (St. Louis de Montfort style) once again, so prayers are appreciated as we once again pledge our marriage and our children to Jesus through Mary.

Yay bedtime!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm not selling my kids

Well mass was... not as prayerful as I would have hoped today. Between Madeleine yelling that she can't see Jesus and Juliette army crawling out of the pew and making a break for the altar the Behr's put on quite a show. Le sigh.

But then we got home from Church and Madeleine gathered the statues we have of Our Lady and Joseph holding the baby Jesus and proceeded to read to them, talk to them, show them her rosary, wrestle with them (that one I cut short), hug and kiss them, hold baby Jesus' hand and sing the "I Love You" song from Barney, and take them into the Princess Tent to hide. All the while she was making sure her little sister was included in the fun. Juliette beamed at her sister and gave the Holy Family big hugs and kisses of her own.

So all and all I think I'll keep them.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Just keep swimming

I often get asked the question, "So are you JUST a stay at home mom right now?" Sometimes that question is followed up by support and well wishes... sometimes I get a really super cool, "Oh I would never be able to do that. I need to be able to use my brain." Or something like that.

Okay people, stay at home moms are not some lesser form of mother. True, sometimes I don't know what day of the week it is and I often cannot form complete sentences... but those are from sleep deprivation. Not a lowering of brain cells. I read, I write, I travel, I calculate the tip when we go out to eat, I keep a budget, I pay bills, I explore the outdoors, I socialize, I MULTIFIRCKINTASK like it's nobody's business, I teach... in fact I use my degree quite often when I teach my children about God.

There are crazy judgements going both ways, I know that some people give working moms a hard time and SHAME on them for doing that. I have nothing but respect for working moms. Not all moms are called to do things the same way.

But, to provide a little insight into why I want to be at home...

When I was growing up all I wanted to be (once I got over the whole dolphin trainer thing) was a mommy. I know it may be politically incorrect or whatever but there has never really been anything else that I have deeply desired to do with my life. (I say "anything else", like it isn't enough, a little tongue and cheek because I believe motherhood is one of the most important jobs in the world).

When I went to college I obviously went with a thirst for knowledge and the desire for a great education (and with my Theology and Catechetics degrees, a desire for a deeper understanding of God) but I always had a hard time picturing myself in a career. It's not because I'm not "independent" or because I wanted someone else to support me so I could stay home. It's because my desired "career path" came with no pay check and honestly required no degree at all. I knew that there was an array of jobs I would be very happy doing but I am very joyful that I was called to my vocation as young as I was.

It's a common topic among Catholic (and I assume all) moms, whether at not staying at home is "fulfilling".

It may be my experience working while Madeleine was a newborn, but I spent those six months desiring nothing more than to just be able to devote myself fully to my baby. I had a wonderful job in the Church and a beautiful little daughter but I felt so torn and lost. Actually, now that I think about it, it may be that desire to give myself fully combined with my ridiculous ADD that makes me know that I'm not really cut out to be a working mom.

And it's not that I think that working moms can't give themselves fully to their jobs and to their families. Many working moms pull it off with grace. I, however, am not that talented.

So really, to the point of all of this, I love being a stay at home mother. It is my heart's desire. I am blessed to have a husband who supports and cherishes my role in the home. I am also blessed that our finances allow him to be the sole bread winner.

There are a lot of times when I feel burnt out by it all. Being a mother isn't the easiest job in the world. It requires you to be on call and alert at all times. And once again, I only have two kids who aren't even school age yet!

Some days I feel empowered. I feel like the most wonderful mommy in the world. Madeleine is counting and showing me how she knows her shapes, Juliette is happy and playing with her sister, we all get to bathe, I cook an amazing meal, the dishes are done, and I just feel super.

Other days my mantra is "just stay alive". I plop the kids in front of Barney for 20 minutes with the intent of being productive but instead end up staring blankly at facebook. My hair is everywhere, I don't get out of my sweats, Juliette is eating the crayons, Madeleine is screaming about cookies, it's frozen pizza for dinner, and a tall glass of something with alcohol before bed (for me, not the kids), and my prayer time is something like, "Dear Lord what am I doing?". Most days its something in between those two, leaning towards the former.

Honestly, sometimes it is hard. As a mom I get almost no time to myself, someone always wants a piece of me, my body has been run ragged. I remember the days before kids when I went to the store by myself, heck when I went to the bathroom by myself, and the reason I didn't wear bikinis was modesty... not crazy stretch marks. Every day, in sickness and in health, I drag myself out of bed and give myself to my kids. They don't have a snooze button, they've gotten pretty used to being fed on a daily basis, and they don't prioritize doing the dishes over playing house. They are 2 and 1. They are sweet, loving, well behaved, and adorable little girls but they are a handful.

And yet I knew about all this getting into it. I watched my mom sacrifice for us growing up. We had the nicer clothes, the better technology. The money went to our hobbies and the house was always filled with our favorite snacks. My mom is a heroic example of sacrifice. But it goes beyond that, down to the heart of the vocation.

Motherhood, no matter if the mother is at home or working, is a vocation that allows us to unite ourselves with Christ by giving up our own bodies out of love for our children, as He gave His Body up for us. No, there is no way we can ever measure up to the sacrifices He made for us but we can unite what little we have to offer to Him. We can be whipped by our exhaustion or our morning sickness, crowned by the thorns of judgements of others who don't understand us (pro-life, NFP, large families), made to carry the cross of our own human flawed human nature, and, if we are really good, we can chose to die to ourselves every day. Nursing mom give their bodies as food to their newborns. Like Mary, we suffer the pains of our children with them. The daily sacrifices we make allow us to decrease so Christ can increase in us.

Most days I don't get it right, my selfishness wins out at some point or another. Still, every day by the grace of God, I grow to love my children more and that gives me the drive to try again. I don't want to be a stay at home mother because it is easy, because it is not, but because it is so rewarding to know that in some way I can experience the love Christ has for me in loving my children.

I wrote a while back about how my vocation as a wife leads me closer to God, this is about my vocation as a mother.

Honestly, most of the time I'm not sure what the word "fulfilled" even means. I used to judge God's will in my life but what made me the happiest. I began to realize that most of the time it meant I was ignoring God's true call for me and doing something "fun". I don't always enjoy hard work and motherhood definitely qualifies as such.

Now I try to find God's will by searching for peace. Even on the hardest days I have peace in my call. I don't think that this is right for every mom but for now at least, it is where my Shepherd leads me.

So maybe in the future I'll put my degrees to good use, maybe even get my masters. For now I am more fulfilled than I ever have been. Tired... but fulfilled.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Just the beginning

Finally after delaying our trip a whole week, we will be heading to Houston tomorrow! Huzzah!

Of course, that is if the weather isn't a mean little poopie diaper...

It looks like snow all day tomorrow, ya know the second time this whole winter on the day we want to fly. We have taken some precautions and are staying over night in a hotel at the airport (Hello, discount!)

It's pretty much the opposite of romantic... Kyle went to bed early because he still has to work in the morning and I have spent the night begging the kids to stop wrestling and just sleep!

If all goes according to plan we will be leaving here around 2 and landing in Texas around 8. Wish us luck!

Here are some cute pictures from the day.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The day from hell... not for the faint of heart

Awful day yesterday. We were supposed to be flying to Houston this Sunday but plans changed fast.

Ya see, I woke up Friday feeling like I was going to get sick. My first brilliant thought was to take a pregnancy test. Nada. No dice.

Then it hit me, "Crud. I'm sick"

THEN it actually hit me.

Fast forward about an hour and I was being carried out to an ambulance on a stretcher. I won't get into the gory details but suffice it to say I puked until I started blacking out over and over. I managed to call my landlady upstairs, the sweet saint, who came down and called 911 and watched my babies.

By the time the medics got there they had a hard time finding my pulse, blood pressure, heart rate... I was taken into the hospital as a cardiac patient and put in the trama room. Once those anti-nausea meds were in me and I had a few nice IVs I was doing much better. Still sick, but not passing out all the time.

Kyle made it home from work in record time and stayed with me at the hospital until my landlady had to go get her own kid. So I napped and by the time I called him he was in an absolute panic because the baby was screaming to be nursed and Madeleine was throwing up everywhere. He rushed them to the hospital to get me (I was finally being discharged, now that I was hydrated and on anti-nausea meds I was in no danger) carrying the baby and dragging Madeleine as she threw up all over the hospital. Once they finally got the IVs out of me I picked my darling baby up, kissed her on her pukey head, and carried her to the car.

Since we live about a mile from the hospital we were home in no time. I put Madeleine in the bath tub and asked Kyle to hold Juliette until I could nurse her. He told me he was starting to feel sick. I took the baby and nursed her while Madeleine puked all over the bathtub and Kyle got sick in the kitchen.

I got the three of them into our bed, Kyle with a trash bag, Juliette passed out nursing, and Madeleine with towels all around her, and took off to get my medicine from CVS. It took all I had to stay awake for the drive, I got home and slept for an hour. Then the baby woke up.

Since Kyle was much sicker than I was at that point and had been up since 2:30 in the morning I took the baby for the next three hours and then we traded when I almost passed out watching her.

He stayed up with her for another hour until they both fell asleep on the couch, I woke them up and dragged them to bed, it was about one, and we all slept...

Until Madeleine woke up at three, crying for water.

I watched a show with her and let her sip water until 4:30 when we both went back to sleep. The baby woke up crying at 7 and Kyle took that shift, he came back to bed about an hour later, the girls and I slept til 11 and he slept til noon.

Today we all sat around sipping juice and watching TV. No one got sick.

Now I am much better but it was the day from hell. I think all moms have stories like that and if you do, you are my heros...

After Kyle, of course, because he took such supreme care of myself and our girls. There is no finer husband to be found.

This post may be an "over share" but it's my blog and I deal with things by talking them out... so there ya have it. My written therapy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Seven Quick Takes- Blessings and Tacos

1. Both kids fell asleep early which means I was able to do all the things I am usually unable to do... like shower and read and eat and sleep. Sure there may be a large pile of laundry sitting untouched on the couch but I. SMELL. GOOD! Heck yeah bath salts.

2. I've haven't had to buy bread since Christmas thanks to my new fancy shmancy bread maker that my parents got me. Since I don't eat much bread anyway Kyle has been the main beneficiary of this gift although I get the immense pleasure of smelling the dough bake all day. Yankee Candle should really find a way to bottle that.

3. We are traveling to Houston next week to visit my in-laws. Since we haven't seen them since May it should be fun to show off my beautiful little girls to the adoring masses. If I do say so myself their cuteness has grown exponentially since May.

4. What won't be cute next week will be me when I come face to face with my long-lost love, Authentic Tex-Mex. (insert dreamy sigh here) It is not all together unlikely that I will have salsa stains on everything I wear during my trip. I've come to terms with this and I accept it. I love Tex-Mex.

5. I will also be hitting up the Catholic Bookstore while I am there in search of some tools to teach my toddlers. This store is amazing. Kyle gets a little scared whenever I suggest we go there... but he just has to deal with the fact that I majored in Theology and Catechetics and an obsession with anything written by JPII or St. Theresa of Avila is just part of the package he signed onto at our wedding. Just like he also knew that I liked to perform dance routines to popular hits from the 90s. I'm a complex woman and I love Catechetical material. It could be worse, I could be obsessed with shoes... oh wait....

6. Also, without a doubt on our trip I will hear in explicit detail what kind of plane we are flying on, how Southwest came to acquire it's fleet, something about Boeing, something about Air Bus A380s, something... something... something... I already zoned out. Once again, I knew what I was getting into when I married a pilot and the barrage of information has helped me win at "Battle of the Sexes" more than once.

7. I adore my family. Sometimes after the girls go to bed my eyes are too tired to focus on anything but other nights I just look at pictures of them on my IPhone and am in absolute awe of how my life has turned out. When I was growing up I was afraid of flying and I would take my rosaries on the plane and just pray that we wouldn't crash because I wanted to be a wife and a mother. The last time I flew it struck me that I have done those things, I have received the deepest desires of my heart. Of course, I still pray the plane doesn't crash (although I'm not particularly afraid of flying, you'll get cured of that really quickly when your husband takes you up in a little Cessna and forgets to shut your door.) but I also marvel at how wonderful my life is and how blessed I truly am.

For more fun go to http://www.conversiondiary.com/. God bless!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Prayer time fail

Prayer time tonight... Kyle was off to bed and we were doing our family prayers. Except Madeleine was DONE. She wanted to play. So the Our Father went a bit like this

Sarah and Kyle- Our Father, Who art in heaven.
Madeleine- AMEN
S&K- hallowed be Thy Name
S&K- Thy kingdom
S&K- Come. Thy will
S&K- be done...

and so on and so forth.

By the time we got the Hail Mary she was even more DONE. She grabbed her pacifier off the shelf and tried shoving it in Kyle's mouth.


By the Glory Be she was resigned. She plopped down on Kyle's lap and scowled at us.

When we finished she stood up and said, "YAY!"

As I said, prayer time fail.

On the other hand they were both awesome at mass so I'll hold off on the Holy Water bath... at least for tonight.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Seven Quick Takes- A Fantastic End to the Week

1. Yesterday my lovely sister in law, Lainey got engaged to a wonderful man named Sam. We are all so excited for them and the girls are thrilled to have an Uncle Sam.

2. My sister Hannah spent the night here last night to get some quality rime with her nieces. Today we went to the mall where Madeleine got new shoes and I balloon and I got bubble bath at Lush. It was a winning trip.

3. This means I will HAVE to find time to take a bath. Most days it's a struggle to get in a shower. I suppose that is the life of a mom!

4. For Christmas I got my dad tickets to a Boston Celtics game. The last time we went to a game together was when I was Madeleine's age! I remember that they were losing and I started to cry. My dad told me if I prayer really hard that maybe they would win and so I did and THEY WON! The Celtics is something I share with my dad. We always follow the season together and so it was awesome to be there live! We had so much fun even though the Celtics lost.

5. Got to see the new Boston Bruins banner! Stanley Cup champs, heck yes!

6. There is nothing better than a baby falling asleep in your arms. It is pure heaven. I mean, I don't know how anyone can doubt the existence of God when they hold a baby. I am so completely in love with God and my children.

7. We are currently watching the pilot episode of Star Trek. Live long and prosper my friends!

For more quick takes go to conversationdiary!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lazy days with the babes

Well you know that it's probably been one of those days when you are up blogging at one in the morning. Can't get the ol' brain to go to sleep...

I also can't seem to find the motivation to sweep the floor. I'm trying to visualize the one year old waking up in the morning and immediately shoving the puffs from the floor to her mouth... and somehow at this time of night that doesn't bother me. Meh, I'll do it in a few minutes. For health and such.

I've been having such a fabulous time with my kids lately. Madeleine has entered this whole new stage of being my buddy. She tells me when she thinks I have done a particularly good job on lunch, commends my dance moves, corrects my song lyrics, asks to put makeup on me and brush my hair, and will NEVER let me go anywhere without her and her doll. We snuggle a lot and laugh and tell each other how pretty we think the other is. As I said, she is my little buddy.

And Juliette... well right now it's kind of like having a puppy around. We can't keep the food where she can reach it and if something drops on the floor she is there to lick it up and she is always trying to get into the trash can. I mean, she is the cutest "puppy" ever and she has a SOUL so that makes her way better than any dog but oh my gosh is she trouble. However after a long day of destruction and general raucousness she becomes my little snuggle bug and all she wants is to nurse and sleep in my arms. And I nurse her and kiss her head and rub her cheek with my finger and think about what an absolute, beautiful angel she is.

Today we took the kids out for ice cream which made us the BEST. PARENTS. EVER. and resulted in the WORST. NAPTIME. EVER. Oh well. I happen to find little faces covered in chocolate particularly delicious... especially when I get to nibble those cheeks.

Craft time has been going decently and we hung Madeleine's art on the wall over her art table which has filled her with PRIDE and JOY. She loves showing off her work.

Anyway, luckily life has been pretty low key as of late. God is good and we are blessed.

Final thought... I'm not the world's best cook, the most creative at crafts, the neatest housekeeper, the fastest kid popper outer, the holiest, the natural-est birther... but my kids are ridiculously happy and loved and well adjusted. They are sweet, have fantastic manners, share, play well with others, love their parents, love each other, have all the right skills for their age, are learning to love God... I'm really proud of the job I am doing with them.

I really, really love those kids and I really, really love being their mommy.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why my kids are being bathed today... again

Well... To kick off the new year with a bang I decided to tackle one item on my list right away: crafts! I am going to shoot for one project a day.

Today I decided to start myself off easy.We have art time every day but today we would learn how green, purple, and orange are made. Barney had given us a good framework to work with so it was up to me to really bring the focus to the art table. Fun ensued... Followed by tears and bath time.

We made new colors!

I'm not sure what kind of technique this is...

Hey mom! While you were setting up the paint I dumped my food on my head!

Ready for a bath!

And just because... my sisters highlighted my hair. I kind of like it!